Families got a chance to hang out with Lynnwood police officers and learn more about their jobs during the annual Cops and Kids event Saturday at Alderwood Mall.
Cmdr. Wes Deppa said he started the Cops and Kids event in 2014 as a way to let community members develop meaningful relationships with police officers.
“It’s all about the police department connecting with its community,” he said.
The event is especially important since the department lost other police-outreach programs for kids, like D.A.R.E., during the 2008 recession.
Because the police department is the “enforcement arm” for the city, it is important to develop positive relationships, Deppa said. “This helps build trust,” he explained. “It think it’s important for an event like this to help break down those barriers and for people to realize we really are there to help them.”
During the event, police demonstrated how technology like drones and a SWAT robots assist in their duties. Kids had the chance to tour police vehicles like patrol cruisers, ambulances and a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, which was a popular attraction for many kids.
There was also a highly-anticipated demonstration from the police K9 unit, which drew cheers from the kids attending. During the demonstration, police officers showed how police dogs help locate illegal drugs and pursue suspects.
“The best part of this event is we get to put smile on these kids’ faces,” Deppa said. “And if you can put a smile on a kid’s face, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton